Poor Dennis Hastert. Even though the longtime house speaker is third in line to be our president, very few Americans had ever heard of him – until the Mark Foley scandal.
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What a way to be introduced to the public! One day you’re a political unknown, the next day you’re the bumbling, bloated, old blowhard who’s on TV trying to dodge blame for a sordid sex scandal in the page program that you run. Dennie did nothing about a member of his own Republican leadership team who was zipping email sex messages to teenage boy pages. Now, Hastert, desperately trying to hang onto his job, says that he will accept responsibility for the scandal – but he wants no punishment.
Republican politicos and pundits are frantically insisting that Dennie’s appalling leadership failure doesn’t really concern voters. But – whoops – the latest New York Times/CBS poll finds that 80 percent of Americans consider the Foley-Hastert scandal a “serious” matter, and 79 percent say that Republican leaders have been more concerned about protecting their own political butts than about protecting young pages from sexual predators in congress.
These numbers are hardly the only bad news for the GOP as it heads into November’s mid-term elections. The party was counting on playing the “Fear of Terrorism” card to scare voters into sticking with the status quo, even sending George W cross-country last month to deliver an orchestrated series of scare speeches. But George flopped. The latest poll shows that public approval for his handling of the war on terrorism actually dropped as a result of his trying to politicize the issue.
Also, Bush’s overall job approval rating dropped down to a pitiful one-third – and, 83 percent of Americans now say Bush is mostly lying when he talks about progress in his Iraq war.